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Old 04-13-2009, 08:29 PM   #1
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Default Sparge SLOWLY!

I hope this will benefit someone.

I was getting abysmal efficiencies (sub 60%) which I have fully attributed to sparging too quickly. How quickly is too quickly? Without getting volumetric, if you can see the water level going down, it's probably sparging too quickly. I recently brewed a 10 gallon batch of BierMuncher's Centennial Blonde and purchased 20% more grain to account for my bad eff. Turns out after a much slower sparge, I was able to get around 82% efficiency without changing much else at all. Needless to say, I had to dilute the cooled wort with 20% more water to get it in the neighborhood of the proper gravity.

Did anyone else learn this the hard way? Or can everyone else read?

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Old 04-13-2009, 08:33 PM   #2
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This really depends on your brewery. I think the general rule is that a longer, slower fly-sparge will yield better efficiency, but with my system I hit my target efficiency in about 30 minutes for 12 g's of run-off. Menschmachine uses a similar technique and we have discussed it here a few times.

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Old 04-13-2009, 08:37 PM   #3
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How long were your quicker sparges vs. your slower sparges? What were your sparge volumes? I am still tweaking my sparge technique.

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Old 04-13-2009, 08:46 PM   #4
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I to am trying to figure out my sparging routine. That is the only thing I can think of for my less than parr efficiancy. I am also using the fly sparging method

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Old 04-13-2009, 08:52 PM   #5
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Also, remember that fly sparging (or "continuous" sparging) is best done with an MLT design that draws the wort down equally from the whole surface area of the mash, rather than to one point. Otherwise you'll leave sugars near the circumference/perimeter of the MLT. Palmer does a good job explaining this here.

A round MLT with a false bottom is probably the best design for fly sparging. If you've got a small braid or Bazooka, you're better off batch sparging.

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Old 04-13-2009, 10:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
A round MLT with a false bottom is probably the best design for fly sparging.
This is my setup and I have never had problems with efficiency
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Old 04-13-2009, 10:29 PM   #7
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I have a set up where I use an insulated keg with a false bottom as a MLT. Once my mash is done I start my sparge and I can usually collect 6.5 gallons in about 35 - 45 min. It is painfully slow to watch the thing drain but well worth it because I am getting around 85% efficiency.

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Old 04-13-2009, 10:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
Also, remember that fly sparging (or "continuous" sparging) is best done with an MLT design that draws the wort down equally from the whole surface area of the mash, rather than to one point. Otherwise you'll leave sugars near the circumference/perimeter of the MLT. Palmer does a good job explaining this here.

A round MLT with a false bottom is probably the best design for fly sparging. If you've got a small braid or Bazooka, you're better off batch sparging.
Yes, this all made sense to me - but 2 brews ago my false bottom gave out (don't ask) and I decided to go with a braid. Having developed a real fondness for fly sparging I continued just as before with the false bottom - It has not seemed to affect my efficiency or taste or ease of sparge at all ( I sparge at a rate of 500ml -'bout half a quart-per minute so thats...just shy of an hour for 5 gallons). I am sure that there is a theoretical loss at the perimeter of my round MLT but it doesn't seem to make a big difference in my case.

Your mileage may vary.
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:08 PM   #9
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when you fly sparge you never let the water level fall below the grain right? I heard the water level shoun stay at least an inch above.

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Old 04-14-2009, 03:35 AM   #10
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i tht I read somewhere that the speed of lautering didnt make a difference when batch sparging - only with fly.

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